Southern California is stunning with its unending sunshine, towering palm trees, and distinctive arid deserts. Of course, the beaches are a must-see for almost everyone, and not to forget Malibu hikes.
This article will discuss some of the best Malibu Hikes and some other experiences of Malibu.
Outside the bustling Los Angeles is Malibu, a beach city in California. Known for its slower pace, best beach spots, and hub for celebrities, it is hard not to fall for Malibu.
Similarly, Malibu, California, is renowned for its beach lifestyle and fantastic surfing. This city is popularly known to provide a quiet escape from a busy life.
The chic vibe of the city makes it one of the most famous destinations in the United States. Furthermore, it offers some of the best hiking trails in the United States.
Despite housing various Hollywood stars, Malibu is also appreciated for its natural beauty.
Malibu is ideal for anyone, whether the coastal mountains, the vast beach hugging the Pacific Ocean, or plentiful unique accommodations.
Some of the best hiking routes with Pacific Ocean views and breathtaking Malibu waterfall hikes can be found in Malibu. Read on to find out more about Malibu Hikes.
But before we get into Malibu Hikes, let us look at some highlights of Malibu, making this an iconic place for many people.
1. A Few Things to Do in Malibu
1.1. The Getty Villa
Address: 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272, United States
Oil tycoon J. Paul Getty founded the J. Paul Getty Museum as a museum and research facility to house his art holdings.
The Getty Center and the Getty Villa are its two Los Angeles venues. The former houses an antiquities collection, while the latter showcases European art and world photography.
A superb recreation of the Villa of the Papyri, an ancient Roman house discovered at Herculaneum, was the Getty Villa.
It is now an architectural masterpiece filled with Roman and Greek antiques. It is a beautiful villa that exhibits some of the most important ancient art.
The antique pieces in the villa range from the Stone Age to the Roman Empire era. Located near the Pacific Coast Highway, this place becomes a great start for your sightseeing tour of Malibu.
The villa’s exterior boasts four beautiful gardens, while the marble building becomes the perfect backdrop for an aesthetic sight.
The Getty Villa was shuttered for renovations in 1997 and reopened in 2006 with a design by Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti, architects based in Boston.
A research facility and the Getty’s collection of classical Greek, Roman, and Etruscan artwork were moved in. After decades of being displayed thematically, the collection was arranged chronologically in 2018.
About two million people per year visit the Getty Center and the Getty Villa together.
1.2. Paradise Cove Beach Cafe
Address: 28128 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
One look at this cafe, and you know you are in for that perfect beach vacation. This cafe is situated right next to the Malibu community’s northern reaches, nearer to Point Dume.
Different from the Los Angeles cafes, Paradise Cove is spacious and sophisticated.
Aside from being extremely Instagrammable, the beach-inspired vibes will make you forget everything else. You can retreat near the beach with lounge chairs provided by the cafe.
Their signature fruit boba rum drink is a must-try and ideal for sipping while overlooking the Paradise Cove waters.
2. Tips for Malibu Hikes
Let us take a look at the hiking tips for Malibu hikes that are important to know:
2.1. Things to Carry
Southern California generally has a hot temperature where you can find the sun shining brightly over your head.
To protect yourself from harmful rays, carry sunscreen, a cap, sunglasses, and enough water to keep yourself hydrated while exploring Malibu Hikes.
2.2. Keep an Eye for Snakes
You must watch the venomous snakes like rattlesnakes found in Southern California. Usually, they never like to come across a human, but you might encounter them accidentally.
In such cases, slowly back up and continue walking calmly. However, do remember that no species of snakes are fatal to humans in Southern California.
2.3. Check for Crowds on Malibu Hikes
The Trailhead parking lot fills up quickly, so you must come when there are the fewest people. The most popular trails are usually filled with cars, leaving no space, so you might have to wait until someone leaves or park elsewhere.
All the trails mentioned are easily accessible by car, so there is no need to camp out as these are generally short.
2.4. Pet-friendly Trails
Some trails in Malibu allow dogs, while some strictly forbid it. Those trails that do allow dogs have a rule of keeping them on leash.
This is done for the pet’s safety and that of others walking on trails. The fine is more than $10k if the authorities find you breaking this rule.
2.5. Be Environment Friendly on Malibu Hikes
Please do not disturb the environment by leaving trash behind or breaking off tree branches.
3. Top 8 Malibu Hikes in the City
Trekking in California’s deserts will undoubtedly show off interesting and thrilling sceneries.
Summertime hiking in Malibu near the coast can be much more enjoyable because of the soothing ocean breezes.
Not to add, as you ascend, you will be rewarded with some of the Pacific Ocean’s most breathtaking panoramic views available anywhere.
3.1. Charmlee Wilderness Park
Address: 2577 Encinal Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
Charmlee Wilderness Park is a 532-acre land surrounded by gorgeous scenery and has 8 miles of trails. Aside from having great hiking trails, the park is well-known for its cozy picnic areas.
The Ranch house ruins, another attractive element of this trip, are located there. The elevation gain on this 2.6-mile circular trail is 450 feet.
Since it’s a short hike among all other Malibu Hikes, you’re welcome to go with your dog as long as they’re on a leash.
The park is fun to explore as it has many trails, offering the best experience of Malibu’s out-and-back trails. Other smaller trails lead to various points of the park.
Charmlee also has a lot of gorgeous locations and tall oak trees. Mild pathways with gentle slopes, towering mountains, and flower-filled meadows can be found here.
But it also offers some genuinely stunning seaside vistas, which is no disappointment. It makes sense why Malibu Magazine considers it to be one of the best local treks.
Despite Charmlee’s beauty all year round, it is ideal for traveling there at the beginning of the year.
Rains bring lush, green grasses, grassy meadows, and wildflowers in the winter and spring, and their brilliant explosions light up the meadows in front of the Pacific Ocean.
This area offers monthly full moon hikes all year, a unique and enjoyable feature of the hiking possibilities.
Around five o’clock in the evening, park docents lead these well-liked excursions. Except for the $4 parking cost, they are free.
3.2. Ocean Overlook Loop
This is one of the easy trails and a favorite for many hikers. It ranges up to 2.6 miles at an elevation of 462 ft. It is also a part of Charmlee Wilderness Park.
As the name suggests, you will have some of the best Pacific Ocean views following this trail.
Since there isn’t much shade in this location due to recent wildfire damage, I’d advise carrying a hat.
It is encouraging to witness the regrowth in this area, with the green poking through and nature once more demonstrating its resilience.
There are other small trails while hiking through the Ocean Overlook loop, which you can easily explore.
3.3. Escondido Falls trail
Address: 27200 Winding Way, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
The Escondido Falls route in Escondido Canyon Park leads to a beautiful cascade, depending on the season, as the trail’s name suggests.
Escondido Falls Trail is beautiful and is known to be one of the few waterfall hikes in Malibu.
During the spring season, this place thrives with hikers and bikers alike. The falls can be dried up if you hike this trek in the middle of the summer.
We advise starting this climb, one of the most well-liked in Malibu, early in the day. You will not only avoid the crowds and the heat, but you can also park for free as it usually gets filled up by noon.
Parking is available at the corner of Winding Way and Pacific Coast Highway. You must go through Winding Way Road, past numerous stunning Malibu houses, until you reach the sign designating the trailhead to access the actual trailhead.
The trail itself is rather flat and easy, with trees providing shade. Your first steep waterfall, with a little pool at the bottom, is about a mile into the hike.
Follow the rocky path to the right to continue (be careful, as the rocks can slip beneath your feet!).
One of the most rewarding aspects is getting to the top of the waterfall, making your trip worthwhile.
There are three waterfalls on this trail, the third one being the largest, about 150 feet in height, and the falls get more impressive as you go deeper.
Swimming is impossible in shallow waters, but it’s still a fantastic area to stop and cool off.
3.4. Solstice Canyon Trail
Address: 3455 Solstice Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
This is popular among local hikers who walk their dogs and hike up the trail, which has lots of interesting sights to discover. It is one of the most intriguing treks in Malibu, without a doubt.
You can choose your hiking style on this mostly shaded canyon climb. Take the counterclockwise path, which involves a slight elevation up to a ridge, before rewarding you with stunning ocean views when you reach the top of the ridge.
The most breathtaking vistas will be in the back of you if you travel counterclockwise, but there won’t be a significant climb.
Certain well-known landmarks mark your trails, such as Keller’s house, an abandoned cabin, a small waterfall and stream, and a hidden statue of the Virgin Mary.
The concealed Virgin Mary statue is located just before you cross the creek to enter the ruins.
The trail’s initial park is challenging but later gets easy when you come across the picturesque panoramic views of Malibu’s coastline.
The trail ends at the ruins of a ranch house, more popularly known as Tropical Terrace.
The first section of the trip ascends the shaded Solstice Canyon Trail, passing the initial collection of ruins.
Take the Rising Sun Trail from here to the crest for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The remnants of a 1960s-era house are located when the trail descends into a tropical terrace.
The Solstice Canyon trek is a really beautiful and enjoyable hike. On weekends, the well-traveled and maintained trail can get quite crowded. Consider a weekday for less traffic.
3.5. Mesa Peak Trail
A hill with a flat top and steep sides is called a mesa. The mountain’s pointy summit is referred to as a peak. Combining these paradoxes yields a modest peak with expansive ocean views.
This trail is located in Malibu Creek State Park and is one of Malibu hikes’ gorgeous trails. Situated near Calabasas, it has the most breathtaking coastline sights and the Santa Monica mountain.
This small vantage point in Malibu, California, behind Pepperdine University, offers expansive views of the neighborhood’s Santa Monica Mountains.
The Piuma Trailhead in Malibu Creek State Park starts the 2.7-mile Backbone Trail hike to Mesa Peak, which climbs the steep sides of the rocky Mesa.
The round-trip distance of the breathtakingly beautiful climb to Mesa Peak is 6.5 miles, with an elevation gain of 1,375 feet.
The trail continues along a ridge above Malibu Canyon. It provides alternate north and west views toward Brents Mountain and Agoura Hills or south and east toward Malibu Creek and Saddle Peak. Everywhere you turn, the view is beautiful.
Running, hiking, and birdwatching are all fairly popular activities here, and you can stumble across other individuals while exploring.
Dogs must stay at home because this trail is off-limits to them. Once you start climbing, you’ll observe that the trailhead is higher, contributing to an interesting hike.
3.6. Backbone Trail Loop
Hiking the Backbone Trail to Sandstone Peak and the Mishe Mokwa Trail Loop is a lovely, occasionally difficult, but worthwhile experience.
The Backbone Trail Loop is 7.7 miles long and is set in the Santa Monica Mountains. You can find this in Malibu Creek State Park and other trails.
Expect to generally hike for around 5.7 kilometers at a moderate pace, with some steep climbs and mild scrambling at the summit.
Despite being extremely exposed, it is a dog-friendly (on-leash) hiking trail, so consider the heat before taking your dog.
This trail is particularly undertaken for day hikes. You can start the hike from Calabasas and witness the foliage and nature the trail is well-known for.
Some of this hike’s highlights include impressive sandstone formations, canyons, and breathtaking vistas from Inspiration Point and Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica’s highest peak.
You can look over Catalina and Channel Island from the top.
The first part of the hike is steep but gradually gets easier. Starting the trail on the left and ending it on the right is recommended, making hiking less tiring.
It is also advised to take the clockwise path, which has a 1075-foot elevation increase, rather than the counterclockwise start on the Mishe Mokwa trail, which has a significantly longer ascent.
Use sturdy hiking footwear because the trail is rocky. Getting an offline trail map is also advised because some tracks can sometimes be a little unclear.
Make sure you have enough water on hand since if you start the path too late in the morning, it could get very hot.
Due to its steepness, the final quarter-mile ascent to Sandstone Peak requires some climbing and scrambling.
If you don’t feel like climbing, skip the summit and continue straight to Inspiration Point, where you’ll enjoy a great view. Once you reach the top, you can see the whole Santa Monica Mountains in the distance.
A 3.2-mile out-and-back hike on the Backbone Trail to Sandstone Peak is an option if you don’t feel like tackling the complete Sandstone Peak Loop Trail.
This is a well-liked hike for those who want to see the sunset from Sandstone Peak or Inspiration Point.
3.7. Zuma Canyon Trail
Address: 5721 Bonsall Dr, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
The Zuma Canyon trail is perfect for those willing to leave their comfort zone. This is one of the adventurous hikes in Malibu city. This trail is for those who would like to push themselves to explore the wilderness.
Since Zuma Trail is slightly more north of Los Angeles than most other treks in Malibu, it is less popular.
You may work up a sweat and take the coastal and mountain beauty peacefully.
When you start, you have a choice between two trails; take the one designated “Zuma Ridge Trail.”
The sandy trail initially follows a small creek in the Santa Monica Mountains without much elevation. When the 1.4-mile round trip trail ends, you find yourself at canyon narrows.
About half a mile into the hike, there is a frequently overlooked viewpoint point with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean.
Keep your eyes on the ground and look for the mostly cleared path on the left-hand side of the trail to locate the unmarked way to the lookout. The vista is breathtaking, and it is easy to see why Malibu is a well-known tourist attraction.
However, if you want more adventure, you can continue making your way ahead. You can start walking in Zuma Canyon Narrows, but steer cautiously as it does not have a hiking path.
There are further offshoots if you want a longer journey; the Zuma Ridge route is an out-and-back hike of 5.4 miles.
No facilities are on the trail, but dogs and horses are permitted. A hat is a wonderful option because this climb takes a lot of time in the direct sun.
This path will end at the crossing of Edison Service Road. You can also explore trails like the Scenic or Canyon Park, like Escondido Canyon Park.
Other best trails would be the Temescal Canyon, Zuma Ridge, Point Dume Cove, and the Rocky or Rising Sun trails.
The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Busch Drive can be used to get to the path, which has free parking. The parking lot lies at the end of Busch, on the right side of the street.
3.8. Point Dume
Address: Cliffside Dr & Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265, United States
The feature of Malibu Hikes you will enjoy the most is that some trails allow you to travel from the towering mountains to the sea.
The Point Dume Cove Trail is a wonderful example. Point Dume appears as a dome-shaped headland, seen at Santa Monica Bay. Beautiful white sand beaches and aquamarine water surround it.
There are miles of trails on Point Dume. One of them also leads to the highest point of the trail. Following these trails, you can find yourself at a secluded beach while a popular beach is on the other.
Rock climbers may be seen scaling the cliff, while whales migrating through the ocean may be spotted from January to April.
Or perhaps you’ll see some seals basking on the nearby rocks. You might be able to walk from the beach at Paradise Cove to the pier; depending on the tides, the sunset would be beautiful here.
You can start your hike by taking a short, simple walk up to the top. Hiking up to Point Dume can also lead you to Point Dume Natural Preserve.
This preserve is prettier in the springtime when poppies and huge coreopsis are in full bloom along the trails.
From the top of the cliff at Point Dume down to the beach, where you may explore the tidal pools, it is an easy, gorgeous hike that takes approximately an hour. However, dogs are not allowed on this trail.
On weekdays, a parking lot on Westward Beach Road offers easy seaside parking for $3. The price is $8 on the weekends. Another option is to park on the street on Cliffside Drive.
No matter which trail you choose for hiking, these unique Malibu hikes will make your trip worthwhile. Happy hiking!